Citizens Bank Purchasing Card Procedures


The Citizens Bank Purchasing Card should be used for purchases of $500 or less.

The Purchasing Card Procedures section is intended to provide Cardholders with information about the Barnard College Citizens Bank Purchasing Card (the “P-Card”) program and to familiarize them with their responsibilities as Cardholders. This purchasing card is accepted worldwide at any location that accepts either the traditional MasterCard or the MasterCard Purchasing Card. The Purchasing Card is very similar to a bank charge card or credit card. However the charges are paid directly by Barnard College.

Uses of the Purchasing Card

The P-Card is a charge card and must be used in such a manner that will ensure the security and safekeeping of the P-Card and its account number at all times. The Cardholder is responsible for keeping the P-Card secure on Barnard premises unless required to make off-site purchases.

The P-Card is the required method for the purchase of small dollar value ($500 or less) for miscellaneous expenses, materials and services. Exceptions will be made where vendors do not accept MasterCard. Types of commodities and services that can be charged are:

  • business meals
  • subscriptions
  • registrations
  • books
  • brochures, catalogs and price lists
  • promotional supplies
  • dues & memberships
  • travel (when approved)

Internal procedures should be set up in each department so that proper authorization is given to make purchases.

Ensure that no New York sales tax is charged. The College is exempt from New York Sales and Use Tax. The College’s tax exemption number is printed on the back of the Citizens Bank Purchasing Card.

Restrictions of the Purchasing Card

The Purchasing Card is for official business use only. It may not be used for personal purchases. In addition, the P-Card CANNOT be used to purchase the following items:

  • Cash advances or cash awards including honorariums
  • Construction or remodeling
  • Employee benefits
  • Fines, late fees, penalties (including parking tickets)
  • Personal purchases
  • Gifts
  • Service Contracts
  • Special Services: Independent Contractors, performers, consultants, speakers
  • Student tuition, scholarships or stipends

Cardholders cannot split transactions into smaller amounts to avoid dollar limits placed on the P-Card. If you need to purchase an item above the limit, please contact the Purchasing Department for special consideration to temporarily increase the “per transaction” or monthly limits.

Please note that additional restrictions may be placed on expenses that are allocated to grant accounts. Contact the Associate Controller-Financial Reporting at extension 4-7734 for information about additional restrictions for grant accounts. P-Card privileges may be revoked, temporarily or permanently, by Barnard College if a Cardholder fails to comply with the Purchasing Card Procedures.

Purchasing Limits on the Purchasing Card

Purchase amounts are limited as follows, unless otherwise approved by the Director of Purchasing:

  • $500.00 maximum per transaction
  • $1,500.00 aggregate transaction limit per month

The Purchasing Card Process

How to Apply

Purchasing Cards can be issued to departments or faculty that have been assigned a general ledger account number. Applications can be obtained by contacting the Purchasing Department at extension 4-5204.

  • The official Cardholder is the designated budget officer for each department or grant (Department Chair, etc.) The Cardholder will receive a copy of the procedures and sign for receipt of the card as well as acknowledgement of the guidelines. All prospective Cardholders must sign a Cardholder Agreement Form to be eligible to receive a Purchasing Card.
  • The Cardholder must designate a department P-Card custodian who will have responsibility for reconciling monthly statements.

How to Receive an Order

  • Verify that the supplier filled the order correctly. Check the contents of the package or verify that all the items you ordered were delivered.
  • Make sure that the supplier charged you correctly and did not include New York sales tax. If there is an error or damaged goods, contact the supplier directly.
  • Sign and date the packing slip or receipt. If the charge amount is not listed, write the total cost that you were quoted on the packing slip or receipt.
  • Keep the packing slip or sales receipt from every delivery or purchase. (See Monthly Reconciliation).

How to Dispute a Charge

Occasionally, billing errors may occur. For example, you may be charged New York sales tax, or you may be charged for goods and services that you did not receive. Remember that, by law, suppliers may not bill you for purchases until your order is ready for shipment.

  • If there is a suspected error with a legitimate charge, the Cardholder should contact the supplier. If the error is confirmed, the supplier should be instructed to issue a credit against the applicable P-Card account. This should be noted in the department’s Transaction log. (See Monthly Reconciliation) The credit should appear on the next monthly Citizens Bank MasterCard statement.
  • If the Cardholder contacts a supplier and they are unable to reconcile a difference in a charged amount, the Purchasing Department should be contacted for assistance.
  • If billing or returned item disputes cannot be resolved with the supplier within 30 days, the Cardholder must contact Citizens Bank MasterCard Customer Service at 1-888-356-8378 and follow the instructions they provide. Citizens Bank MasterCard will issue a temporary credit while the dispute is investigated.

Monthly Reconciliation

On a monthly basis, the Cardholder will receive an individual P-Card statement.

Departments will verify charges, assign account numbers, appropriate object codes and business purpose for each charge on the Citizens Bank CentreSuite website. Departments should sign and retain the monthly statement, a copy of the transaction log, and original receipts. Departments are responsible for returns and exchanges and following through on appropriate credits. The Purchasing Department should be notified of returns and pending credits.

Keep track of your purchases throughout the month by reviewing and updating your current month transactions on the CentreSuite website.

Detailed instructions on how to reconcile your monthly transactions using the CentreSuite website for SINGLE cardholder/users and for MULTIPLE cardholder/users.

Departments should retain the following records:

  • Copies of original Monthly Statement.
  • Copies of completed Transaction Log.
  • All original receipts and other supporting documentation.
  • If any charge is paid for by the Provost Office, an additional approval and coding is required by a representative of the Provost’s Office. If the appropriate Provost approval is not obtained before the required deadline, the individual department will be charged.

All Cardholder’s charges must be reconciled no later than 7 business days from the end date of the billing cycle. Records should be kept for 7 years at the Cardholder's location.

Purchasing will perform the following procedures on a monthly basis:

  • Receive and process monthly purchasing card billing statement for payment and input to general ledger.
  • Perform post-audits of purchasing card transaction activity to ensure proper adherence to the policies of the College.
  • The purchasing card billing system is a single bill/central pay arrangement. Although each individual Cardholder receives a monthly account statement, payment is centrally executed by Accounts Payable. The grand total of all charges with supporting detail by Cardholder account is paid to Citizens Bank within 14 days following the close of the billing cycle.

Accounts Payable will retain statements for seven years.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Cardholder

  • Cardholders warrant and agree that the Purchasing Card shall be used only for related business purposes within the Cardholder's authorized level and for approved budgeted expenditures.
  • The Cardholder is responsible for all purchases made with the card.
  • The Cardholder is responsible for ensuring proper credit appears on the Cardholder’s statement for the return of merchandise, and initiating and handling any and all disputes with suppliers.
  • The Cardholder will be responsible for maintaining receipts and reconciling those receipts to the monthly statement, as well as maintaining a transaction log. Records should be kept for 7 years at the Cardholder's location.
  • The Cardholder is responsible for notifying the supplier that Barnard College is tax exempt.

Lost or Stolen Cards

  • The Cardholder is to report the loss/theft of their card (or account number) immediately to Citizens Bank Customer Service 1-888-356-8378.
  • After Citizens Bank has been contacted, the Cardholder must then advise the Purchasing Department. In addition, the Cardholder must provide and sign a brief narrative on circumstances to the Purchasing Department.
  • Upon notification to Citizens Bank of a lost or stolen card, further use of the card will be blocked. Prompt action in these circumstances can reduce the College’s liability for fraudulent charges.
  • Citizens Bank will replace the card within 7 business days.

How to Cancel a Card

  • In the event that the Cardholder’s employment is terminated, the department must initiate cancellation of the Cardholder account. Purchasing Card accounts cannot be reassigned from one employee to another.
  • The Purchasing Department should be contacted immediately and the P-Card should be cut in half and returned to the Purchasing Department.